Графични страници
PDF файл


by one, to William Fearney, one of his old Agamemnon's, who, with the utmost coolness, put them under his arm; “ bundling them up,” in the lively expression of Collingwood, “ with as much composure as he would have made a faggot, though twenty-two sail of their line were still within gun

One of his sailors came up, and, with an Englishman's feeling, took him by the hand, saying, he might not soon have such another place to do it in, and he was heartily glad to see him there. Twenty-four of the Captain's men were killed, and fifty-six wounded; a fourth part of the loss sustained by the whole squadron falling upon this ship. Nelson received only a few bruises.

The Spaniards had still eighteen or nineteen ships, which had suffered little or no injury: that part of the fleet which had been separated from the main

[merged small][ocr errors]

body in the morning was now coming up, and Sir John Jervis made signal to bring to. His ships could not have formed without abandoning those which they had captured, and running to leeward : the Captain was lying a perfect wreck on board her two prizes; and many of the other vessels were so shattered in their masts and rigging, as to be wholly unmanageable. The Spanish admiral meantime, according to his official account, being altogether undecided in his own opinion respecting the state of the fleet, inquired of his captains whether it was proper to renew the action : nine of them answered explicitly, that it was not; others replied, that it was expedient to delay the business. The Pelayo and the Principe Conquistador were the only ships that were for fighting.

As soon as the action was discontinued, Nelson went on board the admiral's ship. "Sir John Jervis received him on the quarter-deck, took him in his arms, and said he could not sufficiently thank him. For this victory the commander-in-chief was rewarded with the title of Earl St. Vincent.* Nelson,

* In the official letter of Sir John Jervis, Nelson was not mentioned. It is said, that the admiral had seen an instance of the ill consequence of such selections, after Lord Howe's victory; and, therefore, would not name any individual, thinking it proper to speak to the public only in terms of general approbation. His private letter to the first lord of the admiralty was, with his consent, published, for the first time, in a Life of Nelson, by Mr. Harrison. Here it is said, that “ Commodore Nelson, who was in the rear, on the starboard tack, took the lead on the larboard, and contributed very much to the fortune of the day.” It is also said, that he boarded the two Spanish ships successively ; but the fact, that Nelson wore without orders, and thus planned as well as accomplished the victory, is not explicitly stated. Perhaps it was thought proper to pass

[ocr errors]

who, before the action was known in England, had been advanced to the rank of rear-admiral, had the Order of the Bath given him. The sword of the Spanish rear-admiral, which Sir John Jervis insisted upon his keeping, he presented to the mayor and corporation of Norwich, saying, that he knew no place where it could give him or his family more pleasure to have it kept, than in the capital city of the county where he was born. The freedom of that city was voted him on this occasion. But of all the numerous congratulations which he over this part of his conduct in silence, as a splendid fault; but such an example is not dangerous. The author of the work in which this letter was first made public protests against those over-zealous friends, “ who would make the action rather appear as Nelson's battle, than that of the illustrious commander-in-chief, who derives from it so deservedly his title. No man,” he says, "ever less needed, or less desired, to strip a single leaf from the honoured wreath of any other hero, with the vain hope of augmenting his own, than the immortal Nelson : no man ever more merited the whole of that whích a generous nation unanimously presented to Sir J. Jervis, than the Earl St. Vincent.”--Certainly Earl St. Vincent well deserved the reward which he received; but it is not detracting from his merit to say, that Nelson is fully entitled to as much fame from this action as the commander-in-chief; not because the brunt of the action fell upon him ; not because he was engaged with all the four ships which were taken, and took two of them, it may almost be said, with his own hand; but because the decisive movement, which enabled him to perform all this, and by which the action became a victory, was executed in neglect of orders, upon his own judgment, and at his peril. Earl St. Vincent deserved his earldom : but it is not to the honour of those by whom titles were distributed in those days, that Nelson never obtained the rank of earl for either of those victories which he lived to enjoy, though the one was the most complete and glorious in the annals of naval history, and the other the most important in its consequences of any which was achieved during the whole war.


received, none could have affected him with deeper delight than that which came from his venerable father. “ I thank my God," said this excellent man,

“ with all the power of a grateful soul, for the mercies he has most graciously bestowed on me in preserving you. Not only my few acquaintance here, but the people in general, met me at every corner with such handsome words, that I was obliged to retire from the public eye. The height of glory to which your professional judgment, united with a proper degree of bravery, guarded by Providence, has raised you, few sons, my dear child, attain to, and fewer fathers live to

Tears of joy have involuntarily trickled down my furrowed cheeks: Who could stand the force of such general congratulation? The name and services of Nelson have sounded through this city of Bath—from the common ballad singer to the public theatre.” The good old man concluded by telling him, that the field of glory, in which he had so long been conspicuous, was still open, and by giving him his blessing.

Sir Horatio, who had now hoisted his flag as rear-admiral of the blue, was sent to bring away the troops from Porto Ferrajo: having performed this, he shifted his flag to the Theseus. had taken part in the mutiny in England, and being just arrived from home, some danger was apprehended from the temper of the men. This was one reason why Nelson was removed to her. He had not been on board many weeks before a paper, signed in the name of all the ship's company, was dropped on the quarter-deck, containing these words : 66 Success attend Admiral Nelson !

That ship

God bless Capt. Miller! We thank them for the officers they have placed over us. We are happy and comfortable ; and will shed every drop of blood in our veins to support them; and the name of the Theseus shall be immortalized as high as her captain's.” Wherever Nelson commanded, the men soon became attached to him ;--in ten days' time he would have restored the most mutinous ship in the navy to order. Whenever an officer fails to win the affections of those who are under his command, he may be assured that the fault is chiefly in himself.

While Sir Horatio was in the Theseus, he was employed in the command of the inner squadron at the blockade of Cadiz. During this service, the most perilous action occurred in which he was ever engaged. Making a night attack upon the Spanish gun-boats, his barge was attacked by an armed

« ПредишнаНапред »